Mechanised boat fishermen of Rameswaram on Sunday urged Tamil Nadu government to set up “Direct Procurement Centres” (DPCs) across the state to buy fishes on the lines of DPCs to procure paddy from farmers at the support price.
“The State fisheries department should establish DPCs in the fishing jetties across 13 coastal districts to procure marine species from fishermen directly similar to that of run by Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation,” said S Emerit, leader of Rameswaram Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association, here.
He said though the fishermen returned to the shore this morning with a bountiful cache of around 600 to 800 kg of export-quality shrimps, crabs and fishes per fishing trawler on the first day after the end of 61-day annual fishing ban period, they could not get fair price as the ‘syndicate’ formed by the buyers, mostly export companies offered very low prices.
The boat owners were disappointed as they could not make much return after spending huge money towards fuel, wages for fishing trawler driver and fishermen on board, besides other maintenance works.
The syndicate offered Rs 300 per kg for export-quality shrimps and other cache though the market price would be around Rs 600 to 800 per kg. The export companies refuse to give a fair deal and we are forced to sell the marine cache at the ‘unilateral price’ fixed by them, he alleged.
The fishermen have been exploited by the export companies which were fixing low procurement prices even for the export-quality marine cache arbitrarily and the Centre is neglecting our long-pending demand to fix a fair price.
Since the export companies come within the purview of Central government, it should ‘fix’ price for marine cache similar to that of paddy and sugarcane to protect the livelihood of fishermen, he said.
Meanwhile, Ramanathapuram MP, K Nawaz Kani today appealed to the Tamil Nadu government to establish a Fish Processing Unit in Rameswaram for the benefit of fishermen, as it is one of the major fishing centre in South India.
The government is earning several crores of rupees as foreign exchange through export of several tones of marine species from Rameswaram to various South Asian countries via Thoothukudi, Kochi ports, he pointed out.